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This Is Nokia’s Comeback Device (Look Familiar?)

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
Yahoo Tech
Nokia N1 Android tablet


(Reuters)

Love the way Apple’s iPad mini looks, but can’t cut ties with Google’s Android operating system? Well, Nokia’s new N1 tablet just might be the one for you. Unveiled today, the Nokia N1 tablet runs Android while also looking so much like Apple’s iPad mini that you might not be able to tell a difference at first glance.

The first device to come from Nokia since its phone division was purchased by Microsoft, the N1 is a 7.9-inch tablet with a display resolution of 2048 × 1536, like the iPad mini, and features an aluminum body, also like the mini. The N1’s speakers look similar to the mini’s. Heck, even the N1’s volume and power buttons are in the same place as the mini’s.

Measuring 7.9 × 5.5 × 0.27 inches and weighing 0.7 pounds, the N1 is a bit wider but still slimmer than Apple’s iPad mini. The N1 weighs a drop less than the mini, 0.7 pounds vs. 0.73 pounds.

OK, so it looks like an iPad mini, but what can the N1 offer that the iPad can’t? Well, the N1 comes loaded with Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. Riding on top of that is Nokia’s new Z Launcher, an Android “skin” in the same vein as Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense interfaces.

Z Launcher looks and feels completely different from the standard Android Lollipop operating system, but it still runs the same apps and has the same basic settings menus. What sets Z Launcher apart from other Android skins is how you interact with it.

While on the home screen, you can write the first letter of the app you want to open, and Z Launcher will automatically search for it for you. What’s more, the interface learns which apps you use the most and at what time and ensures that they are on the home screen when you’re likely to need them.

Nokia N1 Android tablet

Unlike the iPad mini, the N1 gets an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera. (The mini features a 5-megapixel iSight rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime front camera.)

As a bonus, the N1 comes with a reversible USB Type-C port, which means you don’t have to struggle while trying to plug in a microUSB port the right way. A new kind of connection, the reversible micro-USB port lets you insert your charging cord either way, so that it’s never “upside-down.”

So when can you get the Nokia N1? According to the company, the tablet will launch in China in time for the first quarter of 2015 for about $249. That’s well below the $399 the iPad mini 3 costs and the $299 the mini 2 goes for.

Release dates for the U.S. haven’t been revealed, but Nokia said it anticipates selling the tablet in the rest of the world sometime after its Chinese launch date.

We’ll get our hands on an N1 to give you a better idea of how it looks and feels in the near future. So be sure to check back with us then.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+ here.